Italy's real estate market appears to be experiencing a decline which is not matched elsewhere in Europe.  However, that may not be entirely correct, there are significant market differences and variables between regions and types of property; not all of Italy's property market is depreciating. City new-builds and rental properties are enjoying record rising prices.  Italy's real estate figures are derived from the country average which is being affected by the older historic homes that are in poor repair. The overall drag on the statistical values creates a bigger decline than maybe felt in many parts of the country which impacts on the growth figure.

An innovative answer to the problem is the one euro house schemes that appear all over Italy. Designed to breathe life into the villages and other areas that have seen a marked decline in population over the past few years as young people take advantage of the freedom of movement around Europe and beyond to expand their horizons by working abroad. The properties must be in an area with a population of 20,000 or less, are nearly always in poor repair and they and they come with the stipulation that they are renovated within a designated period of time.  The costs of renovation are likely to be less than the cost of buying a property in good order with the added advantage of being able to tailor the design to your personal taste.  There are schemes operating in three regions in Sardinia, seven regions in Sicily, together with two regions in Tuscany as well as Puglia, Piedmont, Marche, Campania and Lazio.

Italy has made the prospect of living in Italy infinitely more attractive to the foreign retiree by drastically reducing the tax rate on overseas pensions, providing they are paid by another country.  There are designated regions where the tax scheme applies and they tie in with the one euro property schemes in Sicily, Sardinia, Campania, Abruzzo and Puglia.  The retired generation of "young-old" are ideally placed to take advantage of the opportunities available. 

Property purchase in Italy need not be any more stressful than buying in the UK with the right professional advisors by your side.  There are considerable variations in the process of property purchase in Italy compared with that in the UK and it is wise to be aware of the differences in the procedure before you start out.  There are different real estate and tax laws as well as regulations related to energy efficiency that must be adhered to. The Italian real estate lawyers at Giambrone caution that the one thing to be aware of is that with many of the older properties the regulatory status may not be as solid as it should be. Over the years there may have been structural alterations and other types of variations made to the property that could be in breach of the law.  Also, how the property is held and a comprehensive understanding of the boundaries and responsibilities attached to the property must be clearly stated in the documentation.  It would be very unwise to embark on a property purchase without the benefit of sound legal advice and the guidance of a surveyor.  The vast majority of issues can be resolved providing you have professionals advising you that have experience, expertise and proficiency in Italian real estate.

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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.